Thursday, November 8, 2012


I've talked a lot about vices on this blog, especially in regard to ones that affect our health, but today I am focusing on societal perceptions of addiction, and the kind of AA culture we currently live in.

This probably applies most directly to alcohol, and maybe pot, than anything else.

If someone regularly uses, say, crack cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin, the compulsion to use and the effects of this use are so consistently bad with practically one hundred percent of users, that it's ridiculous to suggest that people who become addicted to it could ever develop a healthy relationship with that particular substance. You cannot expect to be successful, professionally or personally, while under the influence of one of those things.

However, do the same rules apply to marijuana, and alcohol? I think those can be measured by the impact they have on your life. I think people can be heavy drinkers or smokers without being addicts. While neither of those things are especially "good" for you, I think the attitude toward them can be adjusted if a person is found to be addicted.

While alcohol has addictive properties,  the draw to smoke weed and drink is much more emotional than that of the harder drugs listed above, which do comfort you emotionally, but with those, the need to use has less to do with circumstances and more to do with impulse. Alcohol, I suppose, can be dependent on either, but that's my point, many people could probably reorient the way they respond to life and their emotional triggers, and, I think, contrary to what a lot of addiction specialists say,  redefine the relationship to softer drugs, and thus how one uses them.

It's worth it to think of food or sex addiction for comparison. Many of us feel that we have an addiction to certain kinds of foods, for some it's sex with random people, yet we do not implement the same sets of rules, we acknowledge that after treatment people will continue to eat and have sex.

Why can't we format the way we think about alcohol in the same way? After writing this it has occurred to me that weed doesn't get the same wrap as a life ruining substance, but i'm pretty sure its excessive use has cost some people jobs. . . Comment and subscribe please.

1 comment:

  1. Some interesting ideas here, Penny. Of course, we are generally aware that some folk have what we like to call 'an addictive personality'. Whilst the general view of addicts tends to drift toward substance abuse, we tend to ignore those other addictive aspects that actually adversely affect far more people. I'm talking here about such things as addiction to money and beliefs. People often need a 'crutch' in life, and so many turn to irrational faith to defend themselves against the difficulties life can bring. Others immerse themselves in money and are driven to accrue more they could possibly ever need. We often fail to recognise this behaviour as addictive, yet it stems from the same root cause; i.e. dependency on something outside the person as a means of coping with life's challenges.
    Thanks for this thoughtful piece.